In the 1940s-50s, Carolina Cotton was part of the Western entertainment scene. Like many of her contemporaries back then, she did it all...from B Westerns to rodeos, Radio and TV, to USO tours. And she became best known for her unique cowgirl-style yodeling. Several recordings of Carolina's have survived over the years...more than could fit onto "Yodeling Blonde Bombshell Volume 1". We are happy to feature more of them in this Volume 2 album.
The title "Three Miles South Of Cash (In Arkansas)" may look familiar from the previous album. Yet this is a remake-version, recorded with Bob Wills in 1951. As Texas Playboys pianist Skeeter Elkin recalls, this was perhaps the only record in which Bob Wills yodeled. One of her most memorable tunes, Carolina later performed the yodeling duet with the likes of Keenan Wynn, Bob Hope, et al. "I'm All Alone" was another tune in which Wills shares vocals. Although theses sessions were done at Radio Recorders in Hollywood, Miss Cotton headed to Nashville to record "Boo Hoo Blues", and "Lovin' Ducky Daddy."
B Westerns were a great place to showcase musical talent. Carolina performed "Daddy" in the 1952 Gene Autry film, "Blue Canadian Rockies". (She co-starred in the film as well). "Where Has My Little Dog Gone", an old standard, was turned into a yodeling extravaganza in "Hoedown" (1950), one of the 2 films starring Eddy Arnold. She sang "Put Your Shoes On Lucy" in the other (1949) Arnold movie, "Feudin' Rhythm" "Lucy" was recorded for the independent label Mastertone. This tune about a barefoot gal in New York City seemed appropriate...at the time, Carolina was appearing onstage at the Greenwich Village Barn, to rave reviews. Carolina tracked 2 more sides for the label, "The Old Square Dance Is Back Again" (featuring the popular caller "Jonesy", who appeared on Bob Will's square dance numbers) and "Hoosegow Serenade". Both were sung with Scotty Harrell. A veteran of NBC Radio's "Hollywood Barn Dance", Harrell likely performed together with Carolina on the show, in the 1940s.
"I'd Love To Be A Cowgirl" was a popular song when Carolina was a member of several bands...those of Spade Cooley, Deuce Spriggens and Hank Penny. While the backing band in this version is yet undetermined (it was discovered on an unlabeled cassette), it is agreed that it is most likely the Deuce Spriggens Orchestra. And it is Spriggens' band featured on the acetate from an unknown radio show, playing an excellent arrangement of "Ragtime Cowboy Joe" (The same show included "Mama Yo Quiero", on the Volume 1 CD). "I Been Down In Texas " is another Spriggens tune, which was showcased by Carolina and the band, in the Ken Curtis / Hoosier Hot Shots B Western , "That Texas Jamboree".
Around 1947-48, the Yodeling Blonde Bombshell recorded 2 songs with indie label Crystal, based in Los Angeles. Owned an run by Henry Schelb (also noted as Schleb, according to a longtime friend), he accompanied her on organ, playing the beautiful yodeling tune "Chime Bells". The other song featured The Broome Brothers, who also recorded with Crystal and appeared in many Western films.
Carolina appeared on several Armed Forces Radio Service programs (mostly tracked at Radio Recorders). The AFRS Ranch House Party was such show, where she was "the Hostess of the Party". The house band was usually Foy Willing and The Riders of The Purple Sage, which performed "Yodel Mountain", and the Spanish number, "You Belong To My Heart". On one episode, The Plainsmen backed Carolina on "Weary Lonesome Blues"...a duet sung with Andy Parker. Between 1949-51, Miss Cotton appeared on "Redd Harper's Hollywood Roundup", another AFRS program. "He's a Tough Hombre" livened up the airwaves on Redd's show. The Navy Country Hoedown series (not part of AFRS) was a popular radio program as well. Tex Williams and Carolina appeared together on one episode, and "Glad Rags" was the opening number. She sang "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down And Write Myself A Letter" on an episode hosted by longtime comrade Merle Travis. From 1952-54, The Yodeling Blonde Bombshell had her own AFRS show, "Carolina Cotton Calls". "Be Honest With Me" was from one of the earliest episodes, as well as "O Dem Golden Slippers"--a duet sung with Walkin' Talkin' Charley Aldridge (Charley, to this day, has fond memories of working with Carolina and the show). The entire episode of Carolina Cotton Calls #89 is included here, bringing back the simpler day of Radio. Yet it was the show's easy-going approach that kept many a soldier company. Carolina was one of the Armed Forces Radio's most popular entertainers during the Korean War.
Whether performing a sultry Spanish tune or a lively Western Swing number, Carolina Cotton covered a wide variety of songs over the years, and worked with some of the best musicians around. Yet it was her unique vocal skills that earned her the title she'll be best remembered for: "Yodeling Blonde Bombshell".
--Sharon Marie (Carolina's daughter)